Judge dismisses charges against Apple security chief in gun-permit probe

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The Apple logo is seen at an Apple Store, as Apple's new 5G iPhone 12 went on sale in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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June 1 (Reuters) - A court in California on Tuesday dismissed bribery charges against Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) security chief, writing that a key element of the case was "pure speculation" by prosecutors and unsupported by evidence.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in November had said a grand jury indicted Apple Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer and two officers in the Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors alleged that Moyer had offered to donate iPads to the Sheriff's Office after a 2019 meeting in exchange for help getting concealed-weapons permits for the company's executive protection team.

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It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in California, and county sheriffs have wide discretion over whether to grant them.

Judge Eric S. Geffon of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County found on Tuesday that Moyer had been in talks with the Sheriff's Office about permits for more than a year by the time of the 2019 meeting. By then, Geffon wrote, the evidence suggests Moyer believed the permits were already approved and would be issued soon.

Geffon said prosecutors erred in alleging that Moyer had any corrupt intent in offering to donate the iPads.

“This argument is pure speculation, and is not supported by the evidence presented to the grand jury," Geffon wrote.

Moreover, Geffon wrote that Moyer's offer to donate the iPads to the Sheriff's Office, rather than any specific officer, and the fact that Moyer followed all of Apple's internal rules for requesting a donation, showed a lack of corrupt intent.

Apple said in November that it had already conducted an internal investigation and found no wrongdoing.

"I thank the Court for giving this case such careful consideration, and for allowing me to move forward with my life," Moyer said in a statement. "I also want to thank Apple, my friends and family for their unwavering support.”

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Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates

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